The Galvani-Volta controversy

2. Galvani's first experiments
His so-called first experiment dates from 1780. Already a convinced exponent of the idea that animal electricity existed, Galvani made experiments with frogs “prepared in the usual way”. While doing so, he noticed marked contraction of the muscles when they were touched with a conducting rod at the moment when an electrostatic machine, some distance away, gave a discharge. He explained this as the result of animal electricity, stimulated by the discharge, discharging through the muscles.
He continued his experiments for six years and in 1786 successfully proved that the contractions occurred also when there was an atmospheric discharge (lightning).